Time to take stand against pesticide use

When the Kauai County Chair, Tim Bynum, spoke during the early morning passage to override Mayor Bernard Cavalho’s veto of Bill 2491, He began by saying, “Up until now, I have been silent. It is now my chance to speak.”

That is the way I feel right now. I ask each and every one of you in the state to take a moment to reflect and to speak up for what you think, feel and suggest is the correct thing to do about the extremely important issue of pesticide use in the state of Hawaii.

Margaret Mead was once asked, “Can just one person make a difference?” Her response was, “That’s the only thing that ever has.” Let your voice be heard. We need to hear what your heart knows to be true and not your wallet. This issue should absolutely not be about financial gains. Not when the health and well-being of the members of our community is at stake.

Some of what I have seen and heard will never be forgotten. A woman from the Westside of Kauai holding on to the mayor as her knees buckled under her body and in extreme emotion, through tears, pleaded, “When? When? My nieces and nephews wake up with blood on their pillows!”

I have been an educator in the state of Hawaii for 40 years and I have huge concerns about the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of its children and our community.

In the 1990s, I represented the children of Kauai to the Hawaii State Parent Teacher Student Association.

We met with legislators in the state capitol. We had legislative conferences and legislative luncheons. The PTSA is a child advocate national organization that, in my opinion, needs to do all they can to support all children.

What is more important than stopping poison in our communities? Having students ushered from school to hospitals is obviously unacceptable. I invite all child advocacy organizations and other community organizations such as Child and Family Services, P.A.T.C.H., Easter Seals, AAUW, Nana’s House, Boy’s Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, DHS, and more to discuss this issue and make a stand.

Why are churches, independent schools, and organizations for the protection of the elderly not coming out in support of stopping the spraying of restricted use pesticides?

There is the Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, 4-H Club and more. If you are a member of an organization ask, “Should we make a stand on this issue?”

Why must we have to wait until these chemical pesticides are proven to be unsafe? Why don’t they have to be proven to be safe? I am baffled by the fact that people think it is OK to poison the land, communities, school zones, and families until it is proved to be unsafe.

We all know what big business and the “powerful money machine” can do, such as hang things up in courts for years while the poisoning continues. Do you think that restricted use pesticides will be determined to be safe?

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Noreen Dougherty is a resident of Kapaa.

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